Circular to Ensure Healthy Nutrition, especially in the first months of children’s lives in our country, was issued by the General Secretariat for Public Health.
Taking into account scientific studies and with respect to the guidelines and recommendations of the National Commission for Nutrition Policy and the Breastfeeding Committee, as stated in a Communication from the Public Health Adviser, this Circular recommends that all health professionals advise parents and carers about importing solid foods to infants (such as pediatricians, general practitioners, nutritionists, health visitors, etc.) using the “Recommendations for the introduction of solid foods at the first year of life” They are posted on the website of the Ministry of Health.
The main points of the recommendations state:
– Infants should only breastfeed for the first six months of their life to have optimal growth, growth and health.
– The introduction of solid foods is recommended to be carried out in the second half of life, ie by the completion of the six months of life, and must in no case be made before the four months of life.
– There is no need to delay the introduction of basic food groups as well as common allergenic foods.
– There is no specific order of introduction of the food.
– Food consumption with added sugar and salt is recommended to be avoided during the first year of life. Instead, repeated exposure to healthy food choices, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, should be encouraged.
– Fruits should be given in pieces or ground (depending on the age of the infant) and not as juices (fresh or standard), which should be avoided in the first year of life.
– Occasionally use baby food only after the sixth month (eg on trips) and if adequate and quality home-made food can not be safely prepared.
– Breastfed infants are encouraged to continue to breastfeed as required in the second half of life at the same time as adequate intake of solid foods.
– Grounded foods are gradually replaced by finely chopped and then small pieces that the infant can catch with his hands and consume himself. Until the tenth month of life it is recommended that the pulping of the food is stopped.
-Parents-caregivers are encouraged to recognize and respond to the signs of hunger and saturation of the infant, to have permanent eye contact, and positive supportive verbal communication, offering food slowly, patiently and without exercise of verbal or physical pressure.
– Health professionals for the assessment of infant development are invited to use the World Health Organization Charts of Growth, which are included in the new Child Health Booklet.
The first two years of life, as highlighted by the Health Ministry’s Secretary General’s announcement, are a critical period, and through healthy and balanced nutrition, the health and optimal physical and mental development of children can be ensured. Inadequate nutrition in early life increases the risk of acute illness, while inappropriate eating habits from the first few months of life are likely to lead to childhood obesity, which is a major public health problem in the world and in our country.